That Greenwood School, Dimapur, won an under-14 match of the Subroto Cup 8-0 on Monday wasn't surprising. That they did it with 10 players for the entire duration of this 50-minute match was. And they will have to play the rest of the competition with the same set of 10.
This happened because five players from the school were found overage. With the overage players barred and the team not allowed to get replacements, this set of 10 will have to continue. Had it been less than 10, the school would have been scrapped, a tournament official said.
"We take age-related issues very seriously, and conduct medical examinations for each of the participants. In the past, we've been forced to sanction foreign teams," said a tournament official.
"The five players who have been found over-age through medicals and scrutiny of records will not be allowed to take part. But the school can continue taking part by fielding their 10 players who are eligible."
But if coach Mughato Sumi was rattled, he didn't show it. "We had to play the entire match with the same set of players," Sumi said, after the opening match of the 53rd Subroto Cup at the Ambedkar Stadium here.
"But at the under-14 level, it does not make a big difference. And if we were able to win 8-0 today, we should be able to compete."
Osen, whose hattrick helped Greenwood School thrash Bhonsala Military School, Nasik, looked tired at the end of the stipulated 50 minutes.
"It was tough with only 10 of us out there, but we managed," said Osen, who struck in the fifth minute. The winners pumped in six goals in the final 20 minutes.